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I opened my compost bin to find mice had made a cosy nest in the shredded paper I had put in to absorb some of the moisture from my kitchen waste.I stopped up the holes they used to get in and out, but a couple of days later thought "where will they have gone?".MY SHED!!! So down went the mouse trap.4 dead so far , I feel guilty but then they are not an endangered species!
In August Sept 2009 I noticed a hole in my compost bin and put it down to a mole who has thrown his hills up near the bin. It was very wet at the time and I thought he might be sheltering, mmmm. Then at the very end of the year we bought 4 hens. By the spring of 2010 we noticed holes appearing in the hens run and then saw two rats up my neighbours tree after the bird seed. We made sure there was no food in our garden for the rats and never saw them in our garden at all but my neighbour was very upset about them in hers so I spoke to the parish council who brought in the local council rat man. The moment he saw we had hens he blamed me for the rats even though I told him they were there long before I had any hens. He put bait down which got rid of the rats but then I had to be ultra careful that my hens couldn't get it or anything that had eaten it. Hens will eat mice. The Point is that rats are around anyway and poultry keepers shouldn't be blamed. Also rat poison is so indescriminate, it will kill anything that eats it including birds. I would rather have the rats.


The only good rat is a dead rat. I cannot believe all this nonsense. I am a farmer and it is not just the damage that they do, they also urinate and defecate on food destined for humans and animals unless very great care is taken. Many seem to think it is ok to tolerate rats the only way is to employ a proffessional to lay poisioned bait, kill them all
The rats in my country garden are all around the bird feeders when I draw my curtains in the morning - so much for removing food at night! I bought feeders on metal poles to stop them climbing but they still get up there. Now I have bottomless drinks bottles around the shafts, which does at least keep them off the feeders. But they're still there taking no notice of me - they're almost running round my feet. I also get mice indoors in winter. Wnen I returned from a christmas break last year, they had nested in one of my pillows (yes, really in the bed), in a pile of clothes which they chewed, in drawers where they chewed packets of incense, and they even chewed my little bear filled with lavender seeds. I don't want to kill anything but this is the limit. I tried humane traps and released them in woods well away from the house but I'm still invaded. The foundations under the row of cottages here are hollow and they have the run of all four. If anyone knows how to stop them getting in, I'd be really grateful because I really don't want to kill them. But I can't face sharing my food, my clothes and even my bed with them. Help!
I had a nest of baby rats in my fast composter. I left them alone and they went in due course. One winter I noticed droppings in the garden shed and was confronted by a rat which was sleeping in the folds of a garden brolly! I stopped up a few holes and it went!I would not like them in the house, but they are not a big threat in the garden
Everyone should know about Weil's Disease, especially gardeners. I only heard about it from my son who works for Network Rail (making them aware of the dangers + desease's they can catch while working on a rail track.) I have a tiny garden (30x30ft) and grow everything in pots as most of the garden is crazy paved by previous tennant,I have a compost bin and found that rats had been rumageing around in it so tuned it over + moved it to a another location. Rats are a contender and need to be got rid of. ANYONE WHO SAYS YE YE YE BUT, BLA BLA BLA are talking rubbinsh, RATS are NOT cute NOT helpful, NOT friendly AND CAN KILL
'Fancy rats' from breeders make wonderful pets. They are very clean, friendly, non-aggressive, and are brilliant parents to their young. (Having lit the touchpaper, I'll retire to a safe distance). I wonder what Richard Jones thinks?
why do people think is acceptable to catch rats in a humane trap and release them on someone else's property. If you have got them kill them
There is never just one rat, the farmer where I keep my goats laughed like a drain when I told him we had 'a rat' and still teases me about the hermit rat!!! They spread disease and breed like crazy, they really need to be destroyed.
This is my first winter as a chicken owner, will my hens be ok in this freezing weather? I've put newspaper then woodshavings in their house with straw on top in their nestboxes. They have woodchip in their run but seem reluctant to come out. What else should I be doing?
The only good rat is a dead one! Have you ever noticed old photos of Theshermen with a length of twine wrapped around their ankles? it was to stop rats running up their trouser legs. A lady was telling me that her father used to have an allotment and they suspected there was a rat living under their shed. Her father and a friend of theirs moved the shed and the rat ran out and straight up her father's friend's leg, continued on and literally went for the jugular! By the time the ambulance came the poor guy was dead.


Wonder how many times that story has been enhanced over the years to end up there? Next time it's told perhaps the rat will have managed to kill both men. Wouldn't want to share the house with them but all things have their place and who are we to decide what species should live or die. I have them in the compost heap and they do a wonderful job of turning it for me - I put the waste in the top and it gets taken down the holes to the bottom. Never seen them out during the day and the hedgehog food is still there in the morning if the foxes don't get it (know it's the foxes 'cos they leave a little thank you gift!). Poison is indiscriminate and will kill hedgehogs which are protected.
I had rats feeding on the bird table a couple of winters ago - I tried to keep the bird food to a minimum, but didn't want to deprive the birds. I had to draw the line when I found two of the blighters sitting, calm as you like, in the rabbit hutch, eating their food! Poor, frightened rabbits sitting upstairs, trying not to notice! At that point I called in the professional, who insisted that I stop feeding the birds, which I did for a couple of weeks but then had to start again. We also have a lot of decking in the garden and two compost bins, which I turn regularly. Having an open bin with some rainwater in it just under the bird table seems to work as I have caught several rats as well as mice, who just fall in and drown. Not a nice way to go, but I just couldn't bash any living thing over the head with a spade, no matter how evil! As we live on the edge of a village, with a farmed field behind us, there is no way we can eradicate all vermin. Have also had the bluebottle scenario with something dead between the floorboards - luckily all gone now! PS rabbits survived the ordeal and are doing well!
No, rats are are no-no for me aswell. Dirty, destructive and potentially dangerous. I can appreciate that some folk feel the need to be humane in their dealings with these critters but not only do I think this is perhaps misguided I have a feeling that there is some form of legislation explicitly prohibiting the release back into the wild creatures that are officially classed as pests...
As a former Amateur Gardener AND Chicken Keeper I regularly found that Autumn and Winter brought our 'Rattus Rattus' friends as food became Scarce, Except of course spare 'Chicken Feed'. The BEST by far are the live Traps made of wire with a counter balance traps. [Cost About £12-00 @ Wholesalers] On a NUMBER Of occasions we caught a mother & Her half grown brood, who were all promply 'Dunked' in my 'Water Butt' for a 'Fatal Hour'.
Having been invited to comment by blog-owner Kate, I'll make a couple of observations of my own. Rats are part of the natural world, the world in which we live too. But, as ever, we make judgements about how other life forms impinge on our personal environment; if they reach pest proportions they are a pest. This might be different for different people. A farmer, who rightly recognizes the damage they do and the danger of disease they present, might regard one rat as a pest. Others, who see rats as little more than big mice, might tolerate them more. I use to have rats, I experimented on them at university. There were six of them housed in a small outbuilding run by the animal behaviour group. They all had names, were all tame and friendly, and all squeaked loudly in recognition when I went to visit them. I made them hungry for 24 hours and watched the ratio of seconds spent feeding or drinking when they were then offered full food and water again. A few days later I made them thirsty for 24 hours. I can't quite remember what the experiment showed, but it was all good fun. The other student who did the same project went on to keep her rats as pets. I did not have room in my small flat. I think rats are fascinating creatures, but would have the same compunction to bashing a rat's brains out with a shovel, as I would to swatting a housefly. I have rats breeding in my compost bins at the moment. So I have stopped adding anything. Instead, all garden and kitchen waste goes off to the local recycling centre for them to compost in industrial units. I will start again in spring. I know why I have rats in my garden, and I'm doing something about it. What I find hart to take is the surprise that some people have when they realize there are rats about, but continue to scatter food for birds and foxes. We must all take responsibility for what we do in the environment, and adjust our behaviour if the results offend us.